THE 100th Tour de France, in 2013, will start in Corsica – the first time it has gone to the “Isle of Beauty”.
Corsica – 170km south-east of the Côte d’Azur – is the only region of Metropolitan France where the race has never been before.
Any doubts about the island’s capacity to accommodate the event, which attracts about 4,000 race followers in 1,600 vehicles, has been dispelled by the success of the Criterium International race, held there since 2010.
According to newspaper Corse Matin, the route through Corsica, which will be officially unveiled in Ajaccio on December 6, will include three stages: from Porto Vecchio to Bastia (146km), from Bastia to Ajaccio (147km) and from Ajaccio to Calvi (155km). Known as the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean, the terrain should present suitable challenges.
It is expected that the route on the mainland will also pass close to some of the towns that marked the first, 1903, route, such as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes. The full route will be unveiled in October next year.
The race did not run during the two world wars.